12019-03-12T23:56:56+00:00Stanford University Pressaf84c3e11fe030c51c61bbd190fa82a3a1a1282413plainpublished2019-08-20T16:26:36+00:00Production Editor7a3dce28be212b1ba5b4a7a50f3d6a8d76b58c74Guest post by Michael Embry, History MA student at Arizona State University.
The Republican Party had always championed itself as the “Party of Lincoln” and, as such, a promoter of women’s rights. As the twentieth century progressed, we started to see changes within the Republican Party, namely the vote of African Americans switching to the Democratic ticket due to the lack of response to the violations of their civil rights. There were many African-American women holding onto the hope that the Republican Party would reverberate to its original ideals in regard to equality based on race and gender. In this article written by Mamie Robinson, we can see that this is not the case. There were many women in top-level government positions during the time when the Democrats controlled the White House and Congress, and as Eisenhower came into office, those African-American women still holding out in hopes of change immediately jumped at the chance to take the place of those Democratic women in office. But as time progressed, we don’t see Eisenhower as the champion of civil rights he was purported to be, and those positions were not made readily available. Republican African-American women were still being treated as lesser citizens then their Democratic counterparts. They were unable to hold high offices within their own party, and as such many left for the Democratic Party as the 50s progressed.
We have to ask ourselves, why is an article such as this important? Robinson is clearly an agitated Republican trying to use the power of the pen in an attempt to persuade the leaders within her own party to start taking women seriously and to allow them positions of power. Women during this time were beginning to leave the home and take positions out in the world. The new Republican Party was attempting to do the exact opposite and disallow women to hold positions of power. It was the beginning of the end for African-American women and their place within the Republican Party.
An additional article written by Robinson on November 19, 1957, shows what little progress had been made within the Republican Party and is also an attempt to build up the party by dredging up the wrongdoings of the old Democratic Party. Clearly this was propaganda and an attempt to disavow the good the Democratic Party was attempting to make headway on. But it goes to show the desperation felt by those African-American women still within the Republican Party and the lack of response from its leaders.